Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Filling My Tank

This is what it takes for me to continue the fight against the monster. None of us can continue this battle no matter if our loved one is active or clear and sober without fuel.

The fuel we require is a fuel for the soul. Yesterday and today I got my tank filled.

Last night I posted an innocuous comment to a Facebook post and linked my blog. Shortly I got a message from someone asking if I could help. The messenger had a problem and knew it but no one else knew. That person confided in a total stranger and ask for help after reading a few posts on my blog. I provided some info and a phone number to reach some professionals whom I trust. Today was to be her first day on a new path.

Today I received an email with comments and appreciation from the college students that provided the questions I answered. I will copy their comments here:


I met with my class last Thursday and had students work in groups in writing a response to your answers; here are their responses:

1)    We want to thank you for spending your time to write to our questions.  Seeing that your son now has a child to care and live for, we are sure he is very appreciative for all that you have done for him.  Now that he’s a father he has a sense of what kind of pain you and your wife have gone through and he is very thankful for your support through hard times!
2)    We know it must have been hard for you to talk about this but, nonetheless, we thank you for enlightening us through your perspective.
3)    Dear Ron, my name is *********** and I would like to take the time to let you know that I truly appreciated your responses to our questions.  To be honest, my friend ****** was also at one time a heroin addict.  I clearly apologize if we brought back memories that were in the past.  My friend ****** and I would always think of what the parents must feel. Thanks to your response, and your blogs we and many others can learn about how to beat addiction.  I truly pray that all parents and addicts read your blogs in hopes of finding guidance.  Once again, thank you and God bless you.
4)    Thank you for providing feedback on this sensitive topic.  I am glad that you found the strength to answer these questions and that your son was able to get clean.  By the way, we thought your writing is awesome!
5)    First of all, we just want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time out of your day to respond to these questions as we know that these questions were sensitive to answer.  We really liked what you were saying about lifeboats as we believe that to be true.  Your son sounds like he is doing a lot better now and we wish you both good luck in the future.
Thank you again, Ron, for responding to my class’s questions.  I really appreciate it!

Susan Winslow

This is what fills my tank and gives me the energy to go forward.

Break the stigma. Stand up for help, grasp an outstretched hand. Educate yourself and pass it along, you never know who you may touch.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Does It Ever Get Better?

I am still a member of several Facebook Groups concerning addiction and drug use. Sometimes I'll respond to a post by a parent but mostly I just read the activity. I also read blogs but they seem to be a dying medium.

Still a lump comes to my throat and my stomach knots when I read a post from a distraught parent. "I don't know where my child is tonight." "Pray for my child, in the hospital, overdose." "My child is going to court and could be locked up for five years." I could have and did write many lines just like these.

I know the pain of each of these parents. It is a painful agony to watch a child suffering from addiction. The feeling of helplessness when you are doing everything you know to save their life.

Does it ever get better? No, it gets different. (give me a break. I know the grammar doesn't work.)

Our son entered recover in July 2010. We lived seven years of a nightmare. I know the highs of endless hope and I know the crushing pain of a relapse.

Fear still grips me for every parent that writes about their son or daughter struggling with the monster. (another chance to correct me, i know it is a disease, but I LIKE monster.)

A lump in my throat, a twisting in my gut, a tear on my cheek. This is what I live with even with a son who is clear and sober.

To every mother and father out there struggling through this nightmare; the only thing I can really say to help is, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Keep reaching out to us. We don't have that magic bullet to fix it but we have a hand to hold. We have a shoulder where you can cry. Most of all we UNDERSTAND.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Another Reader Question

Another reader question was submitted as a comment to my last post. As I said, I'll answer anything and do it truthfully.

Hi Ron, A question for you.

As a parent of an addict did you learn things about yourself that led to questions and change within yourself.

I believe no one can go through something like the addiction of your child and not change.

I am also one that believes inside any action good can be found if you look hard enough. Not to say I would want to go through this again or for anyone to go through it but life is about experiences and how we deal with them, good or bad.

My son's addiction rocked me to the core. I was and still am a person that lives by goals. Before this experience most of my goals were focused inwardly and I had everything laid out; short, intermediate and long term goals drove my behavior and actions.

Today I am more accepting of living life as it is presented. That's a big thing for a goal setting control freak.

I learned that the constants I counted on in life can be changed regardless of my influence. I learned there are limits to my control and influence. It's impossible to effect a change simply my coercion or making a deal. You cannot bargain or threaten away addiction.

I grew up in a family that was not touchy feely. I knew my parents loved me, it was not something needed to be said. In all my life I can remember telling my dad that I loved him once, on his deathbed the day he died. On that day was the only day I can remember hearing those words from his mouth. I didn't see that as a bad thing, that was just how it was. We were not touchy either, hugs were not something shared.

This is how I grew up and the way I lived as a father. My love was not voiced it was to be understood.

Today saying "I love you" is something I do. I hug people, not just family. Through all of this I have learned that demonstrating and voicing my love can be important to others. Assuming something is understood is wrong. After all, we all know how to break down the word "ASS U ME".

Another thing that I felt was a change to me and I hope was beneficial to others was my efforts to write this blog and share my feelings and be open as a father to sharing. Taking that one step further I feel my public speaking about my experience to students, parents and professional groups was a good coming from this experience.

So many things about me changed through this experience. It is impossible to list them all but these are the ones important to me.